Arduino Forum

Using Arduino => General Electronics => Topic started by: hoff70 on Jul 18, 2012, 03:48 pm

Title: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 18, 2012, 03:48 pm
I've been using one of these for a few years:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062750&filterName=Price&filterValue=%2410.00+-+%2449.99

It's been OK for soldering wires together and light repair work but it's frustrating working on the smaller stuff I'm into now. Plus RS doesn't stock replacement tips.

I'm on a budget so I'd like to come in under $100. Anything would be an upgrade...

Any advise? I've looked at the combo iron/hot air deals on ebay but I'm not sure if I'd use the hot air part and it would just be taking up space on an already cluttered bench.

If my current project works out I may celebrate with a new iron  :)
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: wanderson on Jul 18, 2012, 04:57 pm
hakko fx-888 http://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX-888-Soldering-Station/dp/B004M3U0VU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342623626&sr=8-1&keywords=hakko+fx-888 (http://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX-888-Soldering-Station/dp/B004M3U0VU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342623626&sr=8-1&keywords=hakko+fx-888)

Interesting modification; http://www.eevblog.com/2012/02/03/eevblog-242-hakko-fx-888-soldering-iron-hack/ (http://www.eevblog.com/2012/02/03/eevblog-242-hakko-fx-888-soldering-iron-hack/)

The combo hot air/soldering iron devices, at least the cheap ones, do not have very good soldering irons.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: winner10920 on Jul 18, 2012, 06:17 pm
I've got the radioshack butane soldering iron and it works great for me, its like 20$ and 10$ replacement tip, but if you wipe it clean after each use it'll last a long time
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: pwillard on Jul 18, 2012, 07:09 pm
hakko fx-888

Absolutely.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: kd7eir on Jul 18, 2012, 07:55 pm
After getting my Hakko FX-888 I will NEVER go back to anything less.

You will not believe how much nicer it is to use a real, high quality soldering station.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Leon Heller on Jul 18, 2012, 08:08 pm
Metcal makes the best soldering equipment. I use a second-hand Metcal STSS power unit with a new MX-500 handpiece and cartridges, it wasn't expensive.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 18, 2012, 08:31 pm
Looks like the Hakko fits the bill. I've seen the Metcal units used on youtube and they look very nice but a bit pricey.

I figured I'd hear some Weller recommendations. 
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: pwillard on Jul 18, 2012, 09:50 pm
I got a used a Weller ( a good one) in 1979 and still have the same one...   They *are* great... but the cheap ones are not great.

Hakko fits the bill.  It's my preferred iron now.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: JoeN on Jul 18, 2012, 09:55 pm
I have a Weller WE50, the predecessor to the current WE51.  Never had a problem with it.  It heats up fast and there is a good selection of tips.  More than anything, tip selection seems to matter the most as far as I can see.  But I an not an expert.

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-Analog-Soldering-Station/dp/B000BRC2XU

Is the Hakko really that much better than the Weller?  Can anyone compare the two and voice a reason or two why the Hakko is superior?

The Hakko tip cleaner is certainly superior to the Weller sponge method.  I've thrown away the sponge and use that area to keep tips and tinner.

http://www.frys.com/product/1563526
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: winner10920 on Jul 18, 2012, 09:59 pm
The butane one from radioshack heats up in about 3 seconds when you light it with aa blowtorch lol,  though temperature regulation isn't so great
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: lax123 on Jul 18, 2012, 10:11 pm
is that hakko really that great?

as im from germany the only ones i find r like with 40€ for shipping which is more then 50% of the cost for the iron, lol.

i just know that weller is superior as far my little knowledge goes

so if anyone could tell me why hakko should be better, plz tell me
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: kd7eir on Jul 18, 2012, 10:38 pm
OLD Wellers are very good.  The new one are just cheap irons trying to masquerade using the Weller name.

The recovery time of the Hakko is far superior to Weller.  This is of particular importance if you do a lot of
repetitive soldering, or a lot of soldering involving heat sinks or ground planes, or such.

I have found that the heat up time, and temperature regulation, of the Hakko are first class as well.

While I would not trade my Hakko for anything, if you do not do a lot of soldering, the Hakko may be overkill for you and your budget.
The one great thing about the Hakko is that it will be a one-time purchase.  You will not find yourself needing to replace it in a few
years because it wore out or stopped maintaining tip temperature.  A new tip now and then is all that you will need for YEARS of faithful
service with the Hakko.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: JoeN on Jul 18, 2012, 11:30 pm

OLD Wellers are very good.  The new one are just cheap irons trying to masquerade using the Weller name.


My WE-50 is about 15 years old, I would say.  Old enough?  It's been nothing but a pleasure the whole time I have had it.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: kd7eir on Jul 18, 2012, 11:34 pm
Definitely from the good days of Weller.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: JoeN on Jul 18, 2012, 11:44 pm

Definitely from the good days of Weller.


Sorry to hear their quality took a dive.  That is the stupidest thing a company can do.  Increase prices is bad but not a deal killer.  Lowering the quality of a fine product will absolutely kill you because that is the one thing that people were buying your product for.  In a lot of cases people will pay 100% more for a 10% better product, it's just the way it works at the high end.

What happened?
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 19, 2012, 12:30 am
That is sad about Weller.

I'm in my 40's and I remember seeing some of my childhood friends dads Heathkit and HAM radio gear.  Seems like they all had those really cool Weller stations and you knew they were the real deal.

Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: pwillard on Jul 19, 2012, 12:53 am
My  wtcp201 is definitely a good iron, but the temperature control on these old irons is based on the tip inserted in he pencil.  It also does take longer to reach temperature and is slower to react to temperature loss from soldering... meaning sometimes you wait.   I replaced my original with a newer Weller in 2003 but this unit had other issues the biggest of which was a ceramic heating element...   which is fine until the day you knock over the iron onto a cement floor and it cracks.   Having dial adjusted temperature setting like the hakko is a plus.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: lax123 on Jul 19, 2012, 01:12 am
can i take that for granted with "cheap" weller?

idk but it was like someone said they r bad now and everybody took that as a fact, is it true?

when i look at this, that doesnt seem to be that cheap to me:
http://tinyurl.com/7kxrr97


does anyone know this one ZD-931?
http://www.reichelt.de/Diverse-Loetstationen/STATION-ZD-931/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=555&ARTICLE=90918&SHOW=1&START=0&OFFSET=16&&SID=11UAdD3H8AAAIAAFIFTT44a7386fa39a90a63bae951f3ef79a3d3&LANGUAGE=EN
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: copiertalk on Jul 19, 2012, 04:01 am
I have a WES51 and I love it.

I have never had a problem with it. I use a 1/8 inch chisel tip and it solders everything I want to.

You have to remember I went through 5 or 6 radio shack irons prior to buying this one in the same time frame.

They are not inexpensive. I want to say it is more a moderate priced item for a hobby type use. I purchased it for my use in my profession of repairing office machines but use it daily for my hobby.

Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: copiertalk on Jul 19, 2012, 04:08 am
As with any tool.

If this is something that you plan to use everyday, invest a little money into it and make your life that much easier. Good tools are a god send on your arms, mind and knowing your are doing things properly.

If this is a one off project and it will eind up in a drawer never to be used again, get the cheapest thing at walmart, kmart or harbor freight.

Tools that I use are one thing I am picky about. Soldering Iron, Volt meter and a screwdriver set.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: kd7eir on Jul 19, 2012, 04:19 am
Cheap as in poor quality, not cheap as in inexpensive.


can i take that for granted with "cheap" weller?

idk but it was like someone said they r bad now and everybody took that as a fact, is it true?

when i look at this, that doesnt seem to be that cheap to me:
http://tinyurl.com/7kxrr97


does anyone know this one ZD-931?
http://www.reichelt.de/Diverse-Loetstationen/STATION-ZD-931/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=555&ARTICLE=90918&SHOW=1&START=0&OFFSET=16&&SID=11UAdD3H8AAAIAAFIFTT44a7386fa39a90a63bae951f3ef79a3d3&LANGUAGE=EN
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: SparkysWidgets on Jul 19, 2012, 05:17 am
Always been pleased with my range of wellers, having said that you really cant go wrong with an fx-888.
WES51 or an FX-888 is a great place to start pick your poison for tip available and possible future use.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Docedison on Jul 19, 2012, 06:24 pm
I retired after 45 years in all area's of electronics and by far the BEST soldering tool i have EVER used is MY Hakko 926 soldering station. I started out using a wood burning tool for a soldering iron 53 years ago at age 13. My first commercial soldering iron was a 125 watt soldering gun made by Weller (made my own tips from 10 Ga solid wire from electricians 'discards' and I have used every type of iron since. The Wellers are great irons BUT they use an alloy that is a "Curie point" alloy (look it up on Wiki) and any steel along side the iron will defeat the magnetic sensor. There is also the issue of the switch (mechanical) that controls power to the iron... Ungar made an iron in the 60's that has a famous history... it seems that the iron has a replaceable "Heat Cartridge" and replaceable tips... The Heater occasionally fail and vaporize internally... since it was "plugged it in it only had one way to go out and it would do so. Once I picked up my Trusty Iron only to have it go off like a small cannon and embed the heater cartridge in the ceiling.. (TRUTH). The Hakko with the variety of available tips (I just bought 10 of them for $10.00 on Ebay) is the BEST one I have Ever used. I have one a foot to my right arm that I've owned for 10 years and I have replaced a dozen or so tips and 3 heating elements... Not too bad at all. Complete replacement Hakko irons can be purchased for under $20.00 anytime.

Doc
I received the tips for my old... Hakko 900/926/936 iron today and they are perfect... copies of $5.00 tips sold here in the US. Bosity from Ebay sells 10 of them for $9.95 8 or 10 different styles/sizes and a 45 deg chisel tip (1/4" long) that is perfect for small soldering at it's point to flipping an SMT part off of a PCB with the side of the 45 deg knife edge... If the plating is as good as the original (They Look identical) I should have a lifetime supply of tips. The only way to damage them is to burn plastic with them and bake it on (not clean  or wipe it quickly) or to try to sharpen them by filing the tips as that removes the plating...
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Far-seeker on Jul 20, 2012, 04:42 pm

Ungar made an iron in the 60's that has a famous history... it seems that the iron has a replaceable "Heat Cartridge" and replaceable tips... The Heater occasionally fail and vaporize internally... since it was "plugged it in it only had one way to go out and it would do so. Once I picked up my Trusty Iron only to have it go off like a small cannon and embed the heater cartridge in the ceiling.. (TRUTH).


Wow, you state it was the 1960's, but even back then it's amazing that someone could get away with selling a commercial product that could fail in such a spectacularly dangerous way during normal and expected use!  It's a good thing you didn't point the iron toward's your other arm, or anything else you want to keep functional, when you picked it up that time.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: wanderson on Jul 20, 2012, 05:11 pm


Ungar made an iron in the 60's that has a famous history... it seems that the iron has a replaceable "Heat Cartridge" and replaceable tips... The Heater occasionally fail and vaporize internally... since it was "plugged it in it only had one way to go out and it would do so. Once I picked up my Trusty Iron only to have it go off like a small cannon and embed the heater cartridge in the ceiling.. (TRUTH).


Wow, you state it was the 1960's, but even back then it's amazing that someone could get away with selling a commercial product that could fail in such a spectacularly dangerous way during normal and expected use!  It's a good thing you didn't point the iron toward's your other arm, or anything else you want to keep functional, when you picked it up that time.


That was before it was felt that government's/societies responsibility was to protect people from their own carelessness...  The very best science learning toys are from that era, chemistry sets with chemicals that could be used to make explosives (along with instructions on how to do so), articles in magazines describing how to build xray machines, particle accelerators, etc...  In short, information/tools were available, and people were expected to be smart enough to know how to use them properly...  This was the environment where we created the generation that gave use the blossoming of the space age and the creation of modern electronics and computers...
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Far-seeker on Jul 20, 2012, 07:06 pm
Except the situation Doc described wasn't due to carelessness.  The product had a dangerous defect that occasionally caused the heater cartridge to explode, potentially just due to powering it up.  An unpowered soldering iron can't fulfill its designed function so turning it on has to be part of proper and intended usage.  Also, manual soldering irons require being held during use; picking one up by the intended handle shouldn't be a problem either.  So in this particular case you can't just blame it on "carelessness" if a faulty heating cartride vaporizes during normal use.  

Furthermore, if all such soldering irons of that period had the same propensity to explode you might have some point that this would have been potential risk should have been expected by anyone using a soldering iron at that time.  However, that wasn't the case.  There were a number of electrically powered soldering irons on the market at the same time that were just as good at fulfilling their intended function without this particular risk.

I believe that if a commercial product unexpectedly and unnecessarily causes significant harm when used reasonably for the product's intended purpose it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to either modify the product to remove the potential danger (at least during normal usage) or stop making the product.  If they refuse to do either, I also believe it is right and proper for society/governement to force them to choose one of those options.

Finally, I don't know why you're waxing poetically about some supposed "lost golden age" of scientific and technological discovery.  First it has nothing to do with potentially explosive hand tools.  Second, while you won't get the instructions or materials in your Wal-Mart, search "chemistry" on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com) and tell us in all honesty how knowledge is being suppressed.  Also, I see your DIY particle accelerators (http://blog.makezine.com/2007/12/07/diy-particle-accelerator/), and raise you DIY fusors (http://www.fusor.net/)!
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: pwillard on Jul 20, 2012, 08:00 pm
To me, there is a difference between the what I see as the commercial Weller units and hobbyist grade.  I think that is all any of us was pointing out.  To get a good Weller, you will pay more than your mentioned "budget" number. 

That said,  you really should never go cheap on your tools you will use all the time.  Example: If you decide to save a few hundred dollars on an o-scope for example, you will later kick yourself when you realize what you can't do with it and then ultimately you will desire the scope you should have purchased...  making the one you did purchase... a waste of money.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: wanderson on Jul 20, 2012, 08:07 pm
The incident he describes is an iron projecting its heating cartridge forward, which while it shouldn't happen, isn't going to harm a user since 'proper' use will not result in pointing that projectile at oneself...  And even improper use would not result in a life threatening injury... Hence my comment, which was a response to yours about the 'safety' issues...  Life is not safe... reasonable people don't expect it to be.  In fact it is guaranteed to be terminal.

And there isn't much to compare today, with the folks who created devices like I mentioned with vacuum tube era technology.  Given the vast improvement in technology available to the general populace, we should see a vast improvement on what was created then... and we haven't.  In part because people worry too much about things like 'safety'.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: wanderson on Jul 20, 2012, 08:10 pm

To me, there is a difference between the what I see as the commercial Weller units and hobbyist grade.  I think that is all any of us was pointing out.  To get a good Weller, you will pay more than your mentioned "budget" number. 

That said,  you really should never go cheap on your tools you will use all the time.  Example: If you decide to save a few hundred dollars on an o-scope for example, you will later kick yourself when you realize what you can't do with it and then ultimately you will desire the scope you should have purchased...  making the one you did purchase... a waste of money.


While good advice, it is really dependent upon what is meant by all the time.  Someone who only uses a soldering iron as a hobbyist, is well founded to get an iron in the price range of the OP, but someone who is using one 'all the time' would be much better served by something like a metcal that would be at least a magnitude more expensive...
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Far-seeker on Jul 20, 2012, 10:43 pm

The incident he describes is an iron projecting its heating cartridge forward, which while it shouldn't happen, isn't going to harm a user since 'proper' use will not result in pointing that projectile at oneself...  And even improper use would not result in a life threatening injury... Hence my comment, which was a response to yours about the 'safety' issues...  Life is not safe... reasonable people don't expect it to be.  In fact it is guaranteed to be terminal.


So while soldering you've never, even momentarily, had your other hand or arm in straight-line path of your soldering iron?  I don't mean just right in front of it, it could be on the other side of PCB or inches away grabing a solder wick, etc...  Recall that Doc mentioned the heating cartridge's final resting place was the ceiling, if he was in a room with standard height ceilings that cartridge had plenty of energy to hurt someone.  Also while losing a chunk of a hand or arm isn't fatal, it's something most people generally want to avoid.

All of that is really besides my main point however... The Ungar soldering iron in question was not only potentially unsafe, it was completely unnecessarily so.  Some risks are innate and intrinsic to an activity or device, the "nature of the beast" as it were.  However, as previously stated, if an electrically powered soldering iron has a chance of any part of it exploding during ordinary usage it is seriously flawed.  Even an inexpensive hobbyist type of electrically powered soldering iron that is decently treated should have no more chance of explosion than a well made and properly used hammer has of falling apart in your hands.  Finally, setting aside the danger it might mean to the user, why is it so unreasonable to demand that a soldering iron not violently destroy itself in the course normal usage?!?!

I don't expect life to be to completely safe, not only is that impossible it would be boring as well.  However in my experience, reasonable people don't usually take unnecessary risks.  If they choose partake in activities that have innate risks, they also mitigate them to the extent it's practical to do so.  That's not being risk adverse, that's being smart!

Quote
And there isn't much to compare today, with the folks who created devices like I mentioned with vacuum tube era technology.  Given the vast improvement in technology available to the general populace, we should see a vast improvement on what was created then... and we haven't.  In part because people worry too much about things like 'safety'.

Ok now I'm starting to think you are just trolling me, either that or you are letting unchecked nostalgia seriously delude you.  
Here's why, we are having this discussion on an internet forum dedicated to artists, hobbyists, and various other non-professionals (although there are professional engineers posting as well) from across the entire globe using palm-sized microprocessor boards that are many orders of magnitude more computationally powerful than most computers existing during the 1960's.  Furthermore, the people on this forum are using these devices to improve or change any almost conceivable aspect of their daily lives, or just for the heck of it.  You can read about numerous home automation projects, robotics, remote sensor networks, computerized telescopes, home weather stations, etc… even high altitude balloons and rockets with multiple sensors and telemetry!  What more do you want flying cars, jet packs?  Spend 15 minutes with Google and you'll probably find someone, somewhere, at least attempting any manner DIY project you can think of, you just need to open your eyes a bit.

In any case, I doubt continuing this digression will have much further use or interest to anyone.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: tjbaudio on Jul 20, 2012, 10:55 pm
I love my fx-888.  Before it I was using varius RS unregulated pencils and a 260 watt weller gun.  I still use the gun when it is the right tool but the 888 has replaced ALL my other irons.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: wanderson on Jul 20, 2012, 11:50 pm

Wow, you state it was the 1960's, but even back then it's amazing that someone could get away with selling a commercial product that could fail in such a spectacularly dangerous way during normal and expected use!  It's a good thing you didn't point the iron toward's your other arm, or anything else you want to keep functional, when you picked it up that time.


The crux of my objection to your post is that the product spectacularly dangerous nature was tolerated...


So while soldering you've never, even momentarily, had your other hand or arm in straight-line path of your soldering iron?  I don't mean just right in front of it, it could be on the other side of PCB or inches away grabing a solder wick, etc...  


No I haven't.  Doing so is simply careless, and hence risky, even if the hot iron doesn't fail as described.


Recall that Doc mentioned the heating cartridge's final resting place was the ceiling, if he was in a room with standard height ceilings that cartridge had plenty of energy to hurt someone.  Also while losing a chunk of a hand or arm isn't fatal, it's something most people generally want to avoid.


As a young engineer I remember throwing pencils into the ceiling on light afternoons...  Doesn't take much energy and as such I doubt the problem made the device spectacularly dangerous.  I also have no doubt that the problem was fixed when it was discovered.


All of that is really besides my main point however... The Ungar soldering iron in question was not only potentially unsafe, it was completely unnecessarily so.  Some risks are innate and intrinsic to an activity or device, the "nature of the beast" as it were.  However, as previously stated, if an electrically powered soldering iron has a chance of any part of it exploding during ordinary usage it is seriously flawed.  Even an inexpensive hobbyist type of electrically powered soldering iron that is decently treated should have no more chance of explosion than a well made and properly used hammer has of falling apart in your hands.  Finally, setting aside the danger it might mean to the user, why is it so unreasonable to demand that a soldering iron not violently destroy itself in the course normal usage?!?!


There is a world of difference between potentially unsafe (of which almost everything is( and spectacularly dangerous


I don't expect life to be to completely safe, not only is that impossible it would be boring as well.  However in my experience, reasonable people don't usually take unnecessary risks.  If they choose partake in activities that have innate risks, they also mitigate them to the extent it's practical to do so.  That's not being risk adverse, that's being smart!


People take unnecessary risks all the time.  The problem is that people refuse to take responsibility for those risks, hence claiming a defect iron is "spectacularly dangerous" when in proper use, even the defect wouldn't cause personal harm...


Ok now I'm starting to think you are just trolling me, either that or you are letting unchecked nostalgia seriously delude you.  
Here's why, we are having this discussion on an internet forum dedicated to artists, hobbyists, and various other non-professionals (although there are professional engineers posting as well) from across the entire globe using palm-sized microprocessor boards that are many orders of magnitude more computationally powerful than most computers existing during the 1960's.  Furthermore, the people on this forum are using these devices to improve or change any almost conceivable aspect of their daily lives, or just for the heck of it.  You can read about numerous home automation projects, robotics, remote sensor networks, computerized telescopes, home weather stations, etc… even high altitude balloons and rockets with multiple sensors and telemetry!  What more do you want flying cars, jet packs?  Spend 15 minutes with Google and you'll probably find someone, somewhere, at least attempting any manner DIY project you can think of, you just need to open your eyes a bit.


The problem with comparing the creative output from today to what was done in the sixties, is like comparing the relative genius of the person who created the first transistor and someone who wires up some off the shelf devices to make a "computer"...  The level of achievements that arose from those risky days, is not something that we are achieving any longer.  Granted there are still roughly the same number of genius's producing astounding work, but given the sophistication of the the tools now available, the amount of the astounding work should be orders of magnitude larger than it is, when in fact it hasn't increased much at all, and frankly has likely gone down on a per capita basis...  In my opinion, one factor is people complaining about products that are unsafe...  I for one truly miss that I can no longer purchase the types of chemistry sets, and other material for my grandchildren.

And while that might be partially nostalgic, unless your old enough to have lived through that time period (which I doubt from the references you post) you really do not posses an appropriate frame of reference to make that judgement...

In any case, I doubt continuing this digression will have much further use or interest to anyone.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 22, 2012, 02:30 am
I kind of like the look of this rig:

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9672

Good price too...
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: kd7eir on Jul 22, 2012, 03:13 am
That is a Hakko 936 clone from China.

That model is a retired product  It's not for sale any more...

This is it's replacement Hakko 926 clone from China, perhaps you meant this: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707 (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707)
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 22, 2012, 04:03 am

That is a Hakko 936 clone from China.

That model is a retired product  It's not for sale any more...

This is it's replacement Hakko 926 clone from China, perhaps you meant this: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707 (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707)


Sorry, that's the one I meant. I'll probably pick one up next week.

It seems to be have good reviews.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Docedison on Jul 22, 2012, 06:32 am
I have been away for a small time... I built a new computer... 6 Core AMD @ 3.3 Ghz W/8 gigs of ram case and 600 watt power supply All for 491.00 (Minus drives)... My Hakko 926 has been a great iron for many years... It was the Ungar Imperialite iron that used to fail, Only occasionally The heat cartridge had 2 pins to plug into the handle and when sometimes the iron would fail the element would vaporize internally and the gas pressure was enough to shoot the cartridge across the room. it was standard practice to unplug them when not in use. Only had the one time that it went off in my hand out of 7 years of using those irons daily 6 or 7 days a week I had three fail in that time. I was in my late teens working in a television repair shop and the customer was right there when it happened. I left the iron where it was as it was in the corner of the shop... It fell out of the ceiling about an hour later. As I remember the Imperialite's were pulled for that reason... They were very good soldering irons except for that minor failing, heated quickly and were well balanced and they were among thhe first to use a 'plated' tip (no filing the tip like all the rest of the irons). For those of you that might own a Hakko, Bosity on Ebay has an assortment of Hakko 900 series (926) tips 8 or 10 different styles for 9.95 and since they aren't the Weller type of thermal controller (a magnetic "Curie point sensor" and IMO junk as the switch fails frequently at a cost of about $9.00) I don't see where I could really go wrong since the tips are 4.95 and more in the US. Of All the exploding things perhaps the most interesting was an old motorola black and white TV... All the cheap tv's in those days used a voltage doubler instead of a power transformer and with this particular TV the input filter would fail... The cabinets were made of a paper epoxy material and when this part failed it would blow a hole in the top of the cabinet and you found the capacitor case somewhere in the room. It was standard practice for that part to fail so we replaced that part anytime one came in for service. The Hakko tips are described here ($9.45)
10pcs 900M-T Soldering Solder Iron Tips for 936 937 Station Set Rework Welder. If these are the larger tips I will buy the larger barrel and nut but I don't think they are as one of the tips is a 45deg knife tip which id GREAT for 'flipping' SMT parts off the pads they are soldered to.

Doc
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 22, 2012, 03:30 pm
Doc, I enjoy reading your posts, anecdotes, etc. Especially stuff relating to exploding things  :P but...

Could you PLEASE hit the return key every once in a while. My eyes aren't what they used to be and it's just d@mned hard reading a big block of text. I really like your contributions but you make it tough to read.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Far-seeker on Jul 23, 2012, 03:57 pm


That is a Hakko 936 clone from China.

That model is a retired product  It's not for sale any more...

This is it's replacement Hakko 926 clone from China, perhaps you meant this: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707 (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707)


Sorry, that's the one I meant. I'll probably pick one up next week.

It seems to be have good reviews.



I recently bought the one (the product number 10707) from Sparkfun.  After a few months of use on spare-time projects I'm quite pleased with it.  It heats up reasonably quick and it works well even with non-lead solder.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Docedison on Jul 23, 2012, 05:54 pm
There is an Ebay store, Bosity that sells tips for that iron.. $9.45 for 10 assorted tips. I ordered a ste and next week when they arrive... I'll comment on the appearance and apparent quality of the tips.

Doc
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 28, 2012, 06:59 am
Well, I want to work on a project this weekend and hate to wait on shipping... My old iron works OK it's just really BIG and it makes it hard to get into tight spots. Plus the cord is really stiff.

This is my old one:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062750&filterName=Brand&filterValue=RadioShack

I got one of these for $79:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3132686

I've just tinkered around with it this evening and so far so good. I'm thinking about ordering a chisel tip for it just to try it out. Any input on this?
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: bibre on Jul 28, 2012, 08:51 am
Chisel tip has alway been my favorite, even for delicate work. That is, since I built my MITS Altair 8800 back in 1976.   ;)
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: hoff70 on Jul 30, 2012, 04:18 am
Here's a video review (Not mine):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM3lA95FWpo

I've used it for a few hours so far and I really like it.

Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: stoopkid on Jul 30, 2012, 01:12 pm
The Hakko site shows that the FX-888 is made in other colors like black/silver, does anyone know where to find them? The purple and yellow one looks like vomit, I'd prefer to avoid that.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: doughboy on Aug 01, 2012, 09:52 pm


That is a Hakko 936 clone from China.

That model is a retired product  It's not for sale any more...

This is it's replacement Hakko 926 clone from China, perhaps you meant this: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707 (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10707)


Sorry, that's the one I meant. I'll probably pick one up next week.

It seems to be have good reviews.


I got that one from sparkfun and been using it for a couple months and it works very well.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Docedison on Aug 01, 2012, 11:31 pm
Two comments,
First ANY Hakko iron clone or not is in my eyes a great soldering iron, I've used one for damn near 30 years and it has been the BEST WORKING and Lowest maintenance iron I'vve Ever used... I think that the Weller stuff while working is still second class.
Second... About the "Exploding" Iron "Stuck" in the ceiling was an extremely rare occasion ( about 1 in 1000), I had one fail that way and two others just wouldn't get hot anymore and they sounded like there was loose sand inside. Part of my comments on the Imperialite iron was other comments from people in my business. For several years I worked out of the trunk of my car and I used the Imperialite because it would heat and cool quickly... I'd go from tv shop to tv shop asking to fix car radio's... I used to get $10 - $15 dollars a piece I usually could get two a shop and I had 4 or 5 shops I "worked"... Typically I made about $100 / day... VERY good money for the middle 70's and If I didn't feel like working... I didn't... My rent for a Big 2 bedroom house was $250/month.

Doc
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: justjed on Aug 02, 2012, 01:55 am

The Hakko site shows that the FX-888 is made in other colors like black/silver, does anyone know where to find them? The purple and yellow one looks like vomit, I'd prefer to avoid that.


I found those too, except if you read the details, they're not U.S. models. Some time ago, we had this discussion here about swapping out the transformer on a Hakko, or something like that. This one: http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php?action=printpage;topic=90256.0 or maybe another one too. I'm thinking there was something about temperature calibration involved too, but I could be mistaken on that point.

Anyways, AFAICT, you'd need to pay for shipping from Japan, or maybe England. I spent a bunch of time last year trolling the web for Hakko suppliers, and I never did find anyone in the US with the other case colors.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: justjed on Aug 23, 2012, 05:35 am

There is an Ebay store, Bosity that sells tips for that iron.. $9.45 for 10 assorted tips. I ordered a ste and next week when they arrive... I'll comment on the appearance and apparent quality of the tips.


Well, Doc, what's the scoop?
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Osgeld on Aug 23, 2012, 06:55 am

Metcal makes the best soldering equipment. I use a second-hand Metcal STSS power unit with a new MX-500 handpiece and cartridges, it wasn't expensive.


metcal makes 75$ tips and every one I used is like soldering with a match IMO
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Leon Heller on Aug 23, 2012, 11:06 am
You must have been buying the wrong ones. They are nothing like $75, give very precise temperature control, last a long time, and a vast range is available making them suitable for any soldering job:

http://www.metcal.com/products/sttc
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: danb35 on Aug 23, 2012, 03:36 pm
My last two Metcal cartridges were $15 or less.  Tip can be as broad or as fine as you want.  I'm using an SP200 unit rather than an MX500, but it works very well for me.  And, if the color of the Hakko is really a problem for you, the Metcal is simple black.
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Docedison on Aug 24, 2012, 09:55 am
The Tips are GREAT. indistinguishable from the "Hakko" brand new in their little bags. Well worth a 2 week wait for 10 good tip sizes and to save nearly $50.00 (figuring fry's last price @$5.95 Ea)
I have several tips I bought new several years back from Fry's Electronics and these look great, Identical too in every respect. IF you have 220 Vac Mains service I know where You can buy a Hakko 936 for $50.00 New in the Box...
It might be a discontinued item but it is a valuable workhorse... I bought one from Electrodragon http://www.electrodragon.com/?f=2 (http://www.electrodragon.com/?f=2)
and here is the Url for the ironhttp://www.electrodragon.com/?product=hakko-936907-soldering-station-esd-safe (http://www.electrodragon.com/?product=hakko-936907-soldering-station-esd-safe). I bought one and a $15.00 110 to 220 V transformer... Not Nearly as Ugly as the 888 iron is and still $20.00 cheaper...
My 926 has lasted for nearly 20 years... A GREAT soldering iron, a real good tool investment.
I cried when I paid $279.95+ tax for my Fluke 179 and besides horrendously expensive fuses (22 24 $ per set of 2, 440 mA and 11A fuses) in the long run though it was one of my best tool investments... buy them Right and Buy them once...

Doc
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: justjed on Aug 25, 2012, 12:27 am

The Tips are GREAT. indistinguishable from the "Hakko" brand new in their little bags. Well worth a 2 week wait for 10 good tip sizes and to save nearly $50.00 (figuring fry's last price @$5.95 Ea)


Well, that's cool. I'll have to keep those in mind. I don't do ebay, but bosity.com redirects to suntekstore -- looks like the same deal (http://www.suntekstore.com/goods-14002454-10_x_soldering_tip_for_936_station_set.html).
Title: Re: Time for a new iron
Post by: Docedison on Aug 25, 2012, 02:41 am
It Is... I just use Ebay cause they are more or less in the same place, lazy I guess...

Doc